Health Care

Mind the gap: Opting Out of Medicaid Expansion Leaves Low-income Families Behind

Federal health care reform is moving forward thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling last year — and it is a great deal for Pennsylvania. Unless the state decides to “opt out,” Medicaid coverage will be expanded to include many Pennsylvanians who are uninsured.

One group that will benefit immediately are parents with incomes up to 138% of the federal poverty level ($25,390 for a family of three). The benefits don’t end there: others who don’t receive health coverage through their work will be able to buy insurance on a competitive health marketplace or exchange — making coverage more affordable.

However, if Governor Corbett prevents the Medicaid expansion, it will create a coverage gap for families between 46% and 100% of poverty, as the chart below shows (click on it for a larger view).

Those families between 46% and 100% of poverty earn too much to qualify for Medicaid (for a family of three, this means earning over $8,781 but less than the federal poverty line of $19,090). These families won’t receive Medicaid coverage, and they won’t receive subsidies to buy health coverage.

We all benefit when more people have health coverage. Let’s make the right decision in Pennsylvania and expand Medicaid coverage.

Third and State This Week: What to Make of Fiscal Cliff Deal, PA Revenue Update & Slow Down Lottery Privatization

It was a short week at Third and State coming off the holidays, but we still have a few must reads for you. We blogged about the Fiscal Cliff deal, the Corbett administration's decision to slow down the lottery privatization train and the latest on state revenue collections.


  • On federal taxes, Sharon Ward wrote that the Fiscal Cliff deal reached by President Obama and Congress on January 1 was both historic and disappointing — and it leaves much unsettled.
  • On the state budget, Michael Wood blogged about December revenue collections which put the state $171 million ahead of estimates midway through the 2012-13 Fiscal Year.
  • On privatization, Stephen Herzenberg wrote that the Corbett administration made the right decision in slowing down the lottery privatization train and that even more time was needed for a full and transparent review.

More blog posts next week. Keep us bookmarked and join the conversation!

What to Make of the Fiscal Cliff Deal?

Tell us what you think about the Fiscal Cliff deal. Take our two-question survey.

The agreement reached by President Obama and Congress on January 1 was both historic and disappointing — and it leaves much unsettled. The urgency of the Fiscal Cliff has dissipated, but significant threats remain to federal funding for state and local services as well as refundable tax credits for low-income working families, Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security.

Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center to Celebrate 5 Years of Making Facts Matter in Policy Debates

This Friday, the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center will mark five years of research and advocacy demystifying tax and budget policies, separating truth from myth, and ensuring policy debates are grounded in the facts. 

It's not too late to join the fun. Tickets are still available for PBPC's 5th Anniversary Luncheon this Friday from 12 to 1:30 p.m. at the Philadelphia Sheraton.

The event will feature former Gov. Ed Rendell as a keynote speaker, recognize state Representatives Gene DiGirolamo and Thomas Murt for their efforts on behalf of low-income working families, and honor the legal team that won the court case halting enforcement of the state’s flawed Voter ID Law in the November election. More on the lineup of speakers here. 

Third and State This Week: Taking Full Advantage of Health Reform, Poverty the Forgotten Issue & Tax Giveaways in PA

This week at Third and State, we blogged about the benefits of expanding Medicaid in Pennsylvania, the absence of poverty in the national political debate, a state tax giveaway for a company whose CEO owns a Hawaiian island, and the latest on state revenue collections.


  • On health care, Chris Lilienthal blogged that with the election decided it is clear that the Affordable Care Act is here to stay. The question now is will some states squander an opportunity the law presents to cover millions of uninsured Americans.
  • On poverty, Jamar Thrasher highlighted an op-ed observing that poverty is one issue that has been conspicuously absent from the debate in the now completed elections.
  • On state taxes, Jamar Thrasher wrote that tax giveaways should not be handed out to companies whose CEOs are doing well enough to afford to buy a Hawaiian island.
  • And Michael Wood penned an update on Pennsylvania state revenue collections one-third the way through the 2012-13 fiscal year.

More blog posts next week. Keep us bookmarked and join the conversation!

Will Pennsylvania Take Full Advantage of Health Reform?

Posted in:

With the election decided, it is now clear that the Affordable Care Act is here to stay. That’s great news for Pennsylvanians, some of whom have already begun to benefit from the health reform law, and many others who will see more gains as major provisions take effect in 2014.

Third and State This Week: Voter ID Before Supreme Court, Fewer Uninsured Americans & State Revenue Update

This week at Third and State, we blogged about Voter ID arguments before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, new Census data showing a decrease in the number of uninsured Americans, state revenue collections through August, and much more.


  • On the Voter ID Law, Jamar Thrasher wrote about arguments before the state Supreme Court in a legal challenge to the law during which a few justices raised concerns about the number of voters impacted and asked why the commonwealth was rushing to implement the law for the fall election.
  • On health care, Chris Lilienthal blogged about Census Bureau data released this week showing that more Americans were insured in 2011 than the year before, thanks largely to provisions of the Affordable Care Act. 
  • On income inequality and poverty, Mark Price wrote about the bad news in the Census data — incomes are down and poverty is up in Pennsylvania compared to before the recession. Chris had also blogged about what to expect in the Census data on poverty, income and health insurance.
  • On state budget and taxes, Michael Wood blogged about state revenue collections through August but noted that September will tell a fuller story about the state's revenue picture.
  • Finally, Mark Price had a Morning Must Read highlighting news stories on the Chicago teachers strike and an analysis of the job growth performance of past presidential administrations.

More blog posts next week. Keep us bookmarked and join the conversation!

Some Good News: Fewer Americans Are Uninsured

Posted in:

For much of the last decade, we have heard the same story: every year more Americans lose their health insurance coverage and the ranks of the uninsured grow. With new data released today by the Census Bureau, the story has changed — and we have the Affordable Care Act to partly thank for it.

What to Expect in Census Report: Fewer Americans Uninsured But More Living in Poverty

The U.S. Census Bureau will release new data Wednesday on poverty, income and health insurance rates for 2011 based on its annual Current Population Survey (CPS). The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has analysis of what we can expect to see in that report.

Third and State This Week: A Jobs Update, More on State of Working PA & Public-Sector Job Losses Hit Women

This week at Third and State, we blogged about the State of Working Pennsylvania, the latest U.S. jobs report, the disproportionate number of women affected by public-sector job losses and much more.


  • On the State of Working Pennsylvania, Mark Price blogged that working and middle-class families have seen their incomes decline over the past decade and may end the next decade with less income from work than they started with in 2010.
  • On jobs and the economy, Mark Price blogged that while U.S. unemployment declined in August, the overall report is a disappointment, with more people dropping out of the labor force and growth in payrolls falling below the average for the year. Mark also highlighted what the national experts are saying about today's jobs report.
  • On women and the economy, Chris Lilienthal blogged about a new report finding that women are losing jobs in the economic recovery thanks to state and local cuts, especially to education and social services.
  • On state tax policy, Chris Lilienthal shared a Harrisburg Patriot-News editorial calling for an excise tax on cigars and smokeless tobacco, as a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that an increasing numbers of teens are smoking cigars and using smokeless tobacco.
  • On public welfare issues, Mark Price highlighted an Erie Times-News editorial that criticized a change in payroll systems made by the Department of Public Welfare that has delayed paychecks for workers who provide care to Pennsylvanians with disabilities.

More blog posts next week. Keep us bookmarked and join the conversation!

Syndicate content